Macarons are one of those desserts that lots of people seem to love, but find difficult to make. I will admit that I haven’t made a million different recipes. I learned how to make french macarons a couple years ago at the Dallas Chocolate Festival from the lead chef of My French Recipe Cooking School. Her basic recipe hasn’t failed me yet. There are some great recipes posted to this site and you can even order box mixes from her website: www.myfrenchrecipe.com
I have adjusted this basic recipe to make many different flavors of macaron. Last year we did a variety of Harry Potter inspired macarons, and just recently I did some mint chocolate macarons. Traditional filling for macarons is chocolate ganache. Feel free to go wild. You can use buttercream, fruit curds, jellies, caramel, or combinations of the above! I like to use a ganache or buttercream to make a ring around the outside, then put a dollop of something unexpected in the center. Have fun with it!
From aging eggs, to allowing flavors to develop, quality macarons are a 3 day process. No more than 60 minutes hands on! Your patience will be rewarded with big feet and great flavor.
One important aspect of French macarons that seems to make a big difference is aging the egg whites. I try to separate my whites and let them sit out, covered, at room temperature for 24 hours. Aging the egg whites caused me a little mental discomfort the first few times I did this because I was worried about not having them refrigerated. I’ve just had to let that American habit pass for the sake of a delicate and tasty dessert experience.
Macaron making often happens after I’ve made ice cream, creme brulee, chocolate pie, or lemon meringue pie, as those tend to use only egg yolks, and I hate to be wasteful.
When exploring flavors, I would encourage you to play with the filling more than the shells. Check the recipe notes for a couple of my successful shell adjustments.
When piping your shells, you can purchase a silicone mat that has the macaron circle template on it for you. I usually just pipe them freehand and figure every shell will find a mate. I’m an optimist that way. If you are not optimistic, or you’re feeling like a perfectionist, you can this one from pizzarosa and slide it under your parchment paper. Be sure to remove the template paper before baking your macarons.
Vive Les Macarons Francais!
French MacaronsCourse: DessertDifficulty: Medium
- macaron shells
2 egg whites, aged
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
150 grams powdered sugar
85 grams almond flour
Optional: gel food color, no more than 2 drops
Optional: flavorings- see notes
- chocolate ganache
80 grams heavy cream (1/4 cup)
125 grams of milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped
20 grams unsalted butter, room temperature (1Tbsp)
- macaron shells
- To age your egg whites, separate from yolks and leave at room temperature, covered, overnight.
- Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat. Set the oven to 295 degrees F.
- Mix the almond flour and powdered sugar together and sift into a bowl.
- In another bowl, with a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites at minimum speed until the whites begin to foam. Add the granulated sugar while mixing and increase the speed of the mixer to medium. Beat your egg whites and sugar until they are compact and glossy, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the almond flour/powdered sugar to the egg whites. This is also when you would add coloring and flavoring.
- Using a silicone spatula, fold the batter from the bottom to the top, until your batter makes ribbons when you lift the spatula. It takes about 20-30 folds, sometimes a little more. Try not to overmix.
- Place batter in a pastry bag fitted with a plain large circle tip. Pipe the batter onto the prepared cookie sheet holding the piping bag vertical. Think 1-1 1/2in diameter dots. It will spread a little.
- Firmly tap the cookie sheet against the countertop, holding the parchment paper down as you tap. This will help release air from the batter.
- Let the macarons crust (rest uncovered) on the counter, undisturbed, for 10 minutes. Be patient! When you touch the shells, they should not be sticky.
- Place in the preheated oven for about 18 minutes. Watch for browning. I tend to let mine get a little golden on the edge because I prefer them that way.
- Start preparing your ganache or other filling.
- Allow shells to cool completely before removing the macarons. They will be a little stuck to the paper/mat. I usually have to help them by reaching underneath the parchment or silicone mat to help the macaron release without cracking the top of the shell.
- Fill with desired filling and refrigerate in an airtight container for 24 hours for maximum texture and flavor.
- chocolate ganache filling
- Heat the cream to boiling. You can do this on the stove or in the microwave.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate pieces. Allow to sit for 1-2 minutes.
- Using a silicone spatula, mix from the center to the outside. Once the ganache has come together, add the butter. Continue stirring until combined. Place in a pastry bag and set in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before using. You want it loose enough to pipe, but not so loose it will just run off your shell.
- For Raspberry shells, remove 2 tsp of the powdered sugar and replace with 1 Tbsp dried raspberry powder. Sift as the directions say in step 3. When macarons come out of the oven, sift more raspberry powder on the shells.
- For citrus shells, add no more than 1 tsp finely zested citrus + 1/2 tsp citrus extract to the batter during step 5.
- For chocolate shells, replace 1 tsp of the powdered sugar with 1 tsp all natural cocoa powder.
- Any flavor extract can be added. I recommend 1/2 tsp for the shells. We’ve done vanilla, butterscotch, cotton candy, and mint. Have fun with it!